Besides the literal similarities meanings of the stories, both also have a symbolic meaning. Throughout “Hills like White Elephants” Jig have some moments where she expresses symbolic objects that influence her attitudes. Jig’s imagination is key for the story, for example in the beginning of the story she states, “They look like white elephants” (Hemingway 475). According to the dictionary, a white elephant is “a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.” After this definition it is important to bring the response the American man about jig reference he says, “I’ve never seen one” to which Jig responses with, “No, you wouldn’t have” (Hemingway 475). If the white elephant
This short story by Ernest Hemmingway, is about a man and woman’s difference in opinion with one another. The couple is waiting on a train to arrive at the junction station to take them to Madrid, Spain so that the woman can have an operation. In this story, Hemmingway utilizes symbolism and clues to explain the plot of the story and the conflict the two characters are having. Some of the symbolism in the story is difficult to decipher and this analysis will help understand the story by explaining the symbolism.
So he sketched out a scene titled "Hills Like White Elephants." Throughout the story, the American behaves according to Hemingway’s rigid conception of masculinity. Hemingway portrays the American as a rugged man’s man—knowledgeable, worldly, and always in control of himself and the situation at hand. Even when vexed or confused, he maintains his cool and feigns indifference, such as when he tells the girl he doesn’t care whether she has the operation. He initially avoids discussion of their problems, but when pressured, he tackles them head on by oversimplifying the operation and relentlessly pushing her to have it. Thinking himself to be the more reasonable of the two, he patronizes the girl and fails to provide the sympathy and understanding she needs during the crisis. Which is very clear in this quote from the story, “That's all we do, isn't it -- look at things and try new drinks” (Kelly, 2015) Uncompromising, he seems to identify more with the other passengers “waiting reasonably” at the station than with his own girlfriend at the end of the story, which suggests that the two will go their separate ways. So: what do they really want to say to each other? Sadly, we'll never know for sure. This story—deceptively simple—is anything but straightforward. "Hills Like White Elephants" is a great portrait of how we talk at, to, and past each other; how we can go on and on and never quite get at what it is we really want to
Ernest Hemingway among the best of authors of his time, uses a quite different approach to his writings. His style to of writing is often vague and unclear. Hemmingway only gives a bit of content about the story, and the rest is hidden or missing entirely. The audiences are therefore forced to read more carefully and piece together the story. The style of writing he uses is known as the iceberg theory. This minimalistic style of writing is very abundant in his short story Hills like white elephants. In this short story Hemmingway uses many forms of symbolism as clues to illustrate and get a reader to think past the simplicity.
The dialogue in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” reveals a man’s and a woman’s incongruent conflict on abortion, and the author’s fundamentally feminist position is visible in the portrayal of the woman’s independent choice of whether or not to keep the baby she is carrying.
Hemingway sets the story environment at a train station, with two very different sides of the tracks. This setting is interpreted as a metaphor for the choice at hand, an interpretation of life or death. One side reflecting a dry harsh area, with no trees, and devoid of life, on the other side of the
Throughout the short story (1), “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway is speaking about a seemingly unwanted pregnancy and a woman’s uneasiness with going through an abortion. However, Hemingway never explicitly says in this work of fiction (2) that it is about abortion or that the woman, Jig, is uncomfortable with it, but uses symbolism (3) to present this to the audience. At the time “Hills like White Elephants” was published, in 1927, abortion was illegal in most places and a very taboo subject that wasn’t to be openly discussed in public. Thus, Hemingway relied greatly upon the use of symbolism to get his message across for this reason as well as the third person narrator (4) that did not give insight into the character’s thoughts within this piece of literature (5) . He uses symbols such as the train station, white hills, the baggage, and the drinks to point towards the underlying internal conflict (6) of Jig’s decision that is being heavily influenced by the American man, who wants Jig to get the abortion.
During the course of the story “Hills Like White Elephants” the author Ernest Hemingway uses symbolism to describe the the main idea of the girl having the “operation.” Hemingway uses the landscape, the white elephant, and the term “elephant in the room” to represent different aspects of the pregnancy and abortion.
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life” (Buddha). Throughout different time periods religion has impacted the society in which people live. Religion has and continues to dictate the rules citizens have to follow in all areas, especially social, educational, and political. Religion influences morals, values, and people’s identities. Many people turn to religion for not just spiritual answers, but for guidance and help in everyday life. Religion also affects the inner workings of a society. However, religion has evolved with time. In earlier societies, only one religion was usually allowed and accepted. In Salem Massachusetts during the Witch Trials, every citizen had to be seen as a good Christian. In this case, religion determined whether or not a person was good and trustworthy. Currently, all religions are accepted and many do not judge others based upon it. For
According to Smiley, “The dialogue contains the essence of the story's power; for to read Jig's and the American conversation is to recognize the powerless frustration of parallel interchanges” (2). The girl's character passes changes throughout the story. It appears that “Hemingway works out the story's conflict, which revolves around the development of his female character” (Renner 28). The girl gains power and frees herself from the following the American man. In the beginning of the story, the girl take the initiative to speak which leads to the discussion: “'what should we drink?' the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” She opens the crucial issue in an implicit way when she describes the “hills like white elephant”. Which suggests her imaginative way of thinking: she relates to the hills as the physical shape of her pregnancy, and the white elephants is “something she cannot just throw away but for which, in her present circumstances, she has no use; something that is awkwardly, burdensomely in the way” (Renner 30). The girl faces difficulties in expressing her feelings, but she does not surrender and keeps
Symbolism plays a fundamental role in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”. The different symbols used throughout the story are capable of subtly conveying intricate concepts to the readers of this recognized literary work. It then becomes essential for them to detect all these symbols, and discern the deep meanings which they hold in order to truly grasp the story’s message which the author intended to transmit. Without this insight, many first-time readers may view the story as a simple and casual dialog between two people, a man and a woman, waiting for a train from Barcelona to Madrid. Thus, they become unaware of the intense conflict the two main characters are actually facing, haunted by the difficult decision of terminating a pregnancy
By definition a “White Elephant” in literature is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost is out of proportion to its usefulness. In the following short story, the situation that the couple is in can be described as a “White Elephant”. Throughout the story a couple, a Spanish woman and an American man, are sitting at a train station waiting for their train. While there, they decide to talk about the issue at hand, a pregnancy. Jig, the Spanish woman, is eager to keep the unborn child as the American man who is the father is not. They each bring up different points as to why throughout the story. In Earnest Hemingway’s short story Hills like White Elephants written in 1927 he uses the hills themselves, the scenery that the couple is surrounded by, and the beaded curtain as symbols to describe the situation that the couple faces.
If taken literally, Hemingway’s story is one in which very little happens. The story takes place in a train station in Spain where a couple argue about a vague event over drinks. From the very start of the short story, there is an overbearing uneasiness felt in the text as the unnamed male and the girl, Jig, hold what seems to be—on the surface—an innocent conversation. By using a limiting third person point of view that consists mostly of dialogue, Hemingway creates an obstacle in the way of understanding as there is no clear insight to what is going on inside of either party’s head. The conflict that the pair seem to be discussing is never named and it becomes the metaphorical elephant in the room much like the white elephants that Jig sees in the mountains.
A white elephant signifies something that has a high value but is not quite beneficial. When this proverb is placed in context, it would be possible to assume that Jig’s pregnancy might be a ‘white elephant’, considering a human life is very valuable but the couple is not ready to have a child at the moment. According to Joseph M. Flora, a white elephant in nature is rare (44) and this can signify that maybe it would be the only chance for the girl to get a baby, for the reason that a woman can get possibly infertile after an abortion. The question arises what the hills might have to do with white elephants. The hills can be seen as a boundary between the couple. It is obvious from what the American says to Jig, that perhaps the hills could stand for the unborn baby. Further in the story, the girl suddenly calls these hills ‘mountains’. (252) In my interpretation, it seems that she also might have realised that the baby would be a barrier between them. Well, in this case she has to ‘move mountains’ and make that difficult decision. If we observe their relationship, it seems like it is not going too well either. With attention to Jig’s view and the man’s view we can say that they both have a different attitude towards the abortion and their relationship. Remarkably, the girl’s thoughts change through their conversation. Renner divides the stages of the decision-making process into four – what he calls – ‘movements’. (28) Along with these movements Jig also changes her mind about her relationship with the American. In the first stage Hemingway creates the impression that the girl still has to make the decision about the surgery. This idea is created by the description of the scenery in which the station is amidst the two lines of rails and what the girl sees on the other side. (251) The dryness and the brown colour of the country refer to a lack
As the plot unraveled, it became evident the main character, Jig, was pregnant, but her significant other, the American man, wanted to persuade her to have an abortion. The man first mentioned the abortion when he stated, “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig. It’s not really an operation at all” (Hemingway). Jig did not respond, therefore the man continued to persuade her to get an abortion by oversimplifying the operation. She questioned what they would do post-abortion, so he explained that they would be happy, just like the couples they knew. The man put on a facade about how he wanted Jig to be happy and make the decision herself, yet he continually tried to convince her to have the abortion. Undoubtedly, the man did not want to take any responsibility for their relationship and the baby, and wanted the easy way out. He did not respect her view on the subject, therefore he forced the idea that the abortion would be their best option. Since Jig was submissive and dependent, she agreed, “Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine” (Hemingway). She was not concerned about herself or whether she would be happy; her interest was in the man and whether he would continue to love her. If Jig had voiced her opinion by actually discussing the matter with the man, he would have silenced her thoughts and convince